Anemia occurs in animals have lower level normal red blood cells (also called erythrocytes) that carry oxygen to the body. Red blood cells contain a compound protein known as hemoglobin gives blood its red color which carries oxygen to all the essential parts of the body. When there is a significant reduction in the number of red blood cells produced, the animal has to work extremely hard to deliver oxygen throughout the body. Animals with anemia have an increased heartbeat causing often cause fatigue, pale gums and depression. Anemia can become a very serious condition if not treated immediately. Puppies and kittens especially, are at an increased risk for developing anemia if they infest with internal parasites such as worms or fleas.
The bodies of dogs and young kittens are easily weakened when fleas and worms are feeding on their blood and can cause severe anemia. For this reason, it is extremely important to eliminate fleas and worms as soon as they appear. The symptoms and signs of anemia include: * gums or mucous membranes pale when the lip is pushed upwards * pallor in eyes and ears * weakness * depression * loss of appetite * weight loss * Anorexia * breathing and heart beat irregular * lethargy, sleep more than the regular * abdominal distension * Nausea or vomiting * susceptibility to cold * heart murmurs * blood in urine or stool what causes anemia? There are several causes of anemia which are divided into three categories blood loss, hemolysis and lack of red blood cells production. Blood loss can occur as a result of trauma and injury causing damage to blood vessels or the internal organs in the form of stomach ulcer, parasites (fleas, hookworm), tumors of the intestinal tract, urinary bladder and kidneys and diseases that prevent proper blood clotting. Some substances and toxins such as raw or cooked onions, drugs (Tylenol, aspirin), zinc, copper, propylene glycol which is sometimes found in canned food, can also cause the destruction of red blood cells and are very dangerous.